Montana’s stunning landscapes come with their unique set of challenges for homeowners. From heavy snowfall to extreme temperature fluctuations, the state’s climate can take a toll on residential properties. Ensuring the exterior of your home is in top shape is crucial to maintaining its integrity and value. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the 10 common exterior issues discovered during home inspections in Montana and why addressing them is paramount.
1. Improper Site Drainage: Improper site drainage can lead to water pooling around the foundation, causing erosion, basement/crawlspace moisture intrusion, or even structural issues. Montana’s snowmelt and occasional heavy rains make this concern particularly relevant. Ensuring proper grading and drainage away from the house is essential.
2. Missing Gutters/Improper Downspout Drainage: Without proper gutters and downspouts, rainwater can accumulate near the foundation, leading to water infiltration and potential damage. Even with full gutter systems in place, downspouts must be directed and extended away from the foundation. Roof systems with large eave overhangs are often not enough by themselves to prevent moisture retention at the foundation.
3. Sealing/Paint Maintenance: Montana experiences varying weather conditions, which can cause paint to crack or peel, exposing the home’s exterior coverings to potential damage. Regularly inspecting and maintaining paint and sealants can prevent moisture intrusion and extend the lifespan of the exterior surfaces.
4. Moisture Damaged Siding/Trim: Moisture damage is a common issue in Montana, especially in areas with heavy snowfall. Areas where siding has been installed too close to the ground or the roof surface are common areas of moisture damage. Look for horizontal edges in your siding/trim system that may collect moisture. Those area should have been flashed properly to prevent moisture damages.
5. Exposed Fasteners at the Roof: Exposed fasteners can lead to leaks, especially during heavy rains or snow melts. Due to temperature fluctuations, expansion and contraction of materials can lead to nails or screws backing out of metal or asphalt shingle roofs. Regular inspection and maintenance of the roof can prevent potential water damage.
6. Improper Deck Ledger Attachment: Decks that aren’t properly attached to the home can be hazardous. Missing flashing, lag-type fasteners, and joist hangers are common finds during inspections that can potentially lead to deck failure and collapse.
7. Failed Window Seals: Failed window seals allow moisture to enter, causing fogging or condensation between panes. In colder climates like Montana, this can lead to ice buildup, affecting both insulation and the window’s lifespan.
8. Cracked/Heaving Concrete (driveways and walkways): Freezing and thawing cycles in Montana can cause concrete to crack or heave, posing tripping hazards and detracting from the home’s curb appeal. Timely repairs and proper maintenance are essential.
9. Ice Damming at the Roof: Montana’s cold winters in combination with inadequate attic insulation can create ice dams on roofs, leading to water backup and potential leaks. Proper insulation, ventilation, and regular roof inspections can help prevent this issue.
10. Trees overhanging the home/lack of defensible space: Trees close to the house can pose risks, especially during storms or wildfires. Montana’s dry climate makes maintaining defensible space crucial for protecting the property against potential fire hazards. In addition, overhanging trees often deposit debris on the roof and in the gutter system; leading to improper drainage.
Addressing these 10 common exterior issues discovered during home inspections in Montana is essential for maintaining the structural integrity, safety, and value of your property. Regular inspections and timely maintenance can save homeowners from costly repairs down the line, ensuring a secure and resilient home in Montana’s ever-changing climate.